WHEN: 7:00 PM CT
WHERE: United Center — Chicago, Illinois
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Bally Sports Southeast/NBA League Pass/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
It all comes down to this.
The Memphis Grizzlies will take on the Chicago Bulls in the preseason finale for both teams on Friday night.
Normally the goal for preseason is to shake the rust off and hope for no injuries. But, for many players on the Grizz, there could be a lot more at stake. I know it’s something that’s been mentioned many times by those who cover the Grizzlies, but the only thing that feels like it’s set is that Ja, Jaren, and Steven Adams will be in the opening night starting lineup. Maybe tonight, we get a clearer picture on who the starters will be when the team tips off Wednesday night against Cleveland since Head Coach Taylor Jenkins has said this game will be a “dress rehearsal” for opening night next week.
On the other side of the court – the Chicago Bulls. The Grizzlies will try and give the Bulls their first and only loss of the preseason. While records really don’t matter that much in exhibition play, it’s got to be encouraging for the Bulls who brought in some new pieces in the offseason. The Bulls added Lonzo Ball and DeMar DeRozan to a core that already included Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic, the latter acquired at the trade deadline last season. It’s also possible we could see the Bulls 2020 Top-5 pick Patrick Williams for the first time in the preseason, but Coby White will remain sidelined.
Name That Starter
The Dillon Brooks injury news this week came off as somewhat of a surprise to many and has thrown a wrench into the Grizzlies opening night plans. It seemed as if the Grizzlies only had one opening for the first five, but now there are two. We know Ja, Jaren, and Steven Adams are set. That opens up two spots.
Head Coach Taylor Jenkins has been mixing and matching starting lineups throughout the preseason. And honestly, it really hasn’t mattered too much on who has been on the floor with Ja, Jaren, and Adams because they have been pretty dominant. We’ve seen Desmond Bane, DeAnthony Melton, and John Konchar get the start with those guys. Personally, I get the feeling that Bane was going to be in the starting lineup, no matter if Brooks was playing Game 1 or not. It may not matter though if the Grizzlies punch teams in the mouth like they have out of the gate in the preseason.
Filling Up the Roster
The other storyline to keep an eye on in the preseason finale – who is getting the final roster spot? It’s down to Sam Merrill, Jarrett Culver, and Kris Dunn. Dunn will not be able to make his case, as he is out once again after a dental procedure. Merrill’s audition on Wednesday against Indiana couldn’t have gone any better. Merrill finished with 30 points on 11-17 shooting, including 8-13 from 3. Culver has been pretty disappointing so far in the preseason, but the potential is there.
It will be interesting to see just how many minutes all of the guys play in the preseason, and is definitely a game to watch, as the Grizzlies prepare for the regular season which starts next week.